West Wind Reinforcing LLC
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: April Reeves
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
With a rich history of completing projects of all sizes, the founders of West Wind Reinforcing LLC have created a niche market in reinforcing wind projects, T-Line projects, high-rise buildings, water treatment facilities, parking garages, sports stadiums, highway bridges and freeway overpasses across the country. Located in Oregon City, Oregon, a majority of West Wind’s business relies heavily on repeat customers. “We’re still always looking for new customers to work with and new emerging markets,” says Don Evanson, co-founder and president of West Wind. “Our core business though very much remains with repeat clients, which is with some of the best general contractors in northern America.”
Founded in 2012, West Wind has established a reputation as a company that presents value to its clients. With the company’s recipe for success including a culture of safety paired with experienced management and supervision, West Wind’s attention to detail and design generates technical solutions for every project. “In this industry, it’s all about performance, safety and the ability to deliver a better quality product than your competitors,” Evanson explains. “We’re not always the lowest bid but we are awarded many jobs because customers deem us as a better value.”
A diverse company
In an industry where every company is seeking the ability to become faster, safer and cheaper, West Wind consistently invests in updated equipment and training employees in the latest technologies and trends in the industry. “You have to be always striving to be the best,” says Evanson. “The day that you rest on your laurels and become complacent is when you will be in the rearview mirror of the industry.”
West Wind currently employs more than 100 full-time employees — although with the ability to perform numerous jobs at once, the company’s workforce has been known to increase to 300. A scenario that involved tripling the amount of employees took place in July 2014, when West Wind worked on the Dupont Ilmenite Facility in Gulfport, Mississippi, which required more than 200 workers. “Logistically, that was one of the toughest projects we’ve ever completed because of the size and scope of the job,” recounts Evanson. “It’s one that I’m personally very proud of.”
Currently, West Wind remains heavily entrenched in the nuclear power sector of the Midwest. The West Wind team has completed work at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and in Illinois, the company has been involved with six nuclear projects in the past 18 months. The scope of work and challenges presented in these jobs create a very selective process when the projects go out for bidding. Workers are required to pass a complete background check as well as a drug test. “You also have to have an immaculate safety record,” says Evanson. “If you don’t, then they won’t even consider your bid. They want the best of the best.”
The people make the company
In such a challenging and competitive industry, Evanson says that the employees of West Wind are completely responsible for the company’s success. “This is more like a family than a business,” he says. “There are two categories of workers in this business: good and bad. There is no in between. You’re either an asset or a liability and all of the people here are the cream of the crop.”
For a relatively young company, Evanson and his partner Scott Baldridge, vice president of West Wind, bring more than 60 years of combined experience to the company. Evanson has worked in the construction management and concrete reinforcing industry since 1983. Moving through the ranks as ironworker to executive management and founder of West Wind, his knowledge of all phases from bidding to completion has helped to establish West Wind’s reputation as a company that completes projects on time and under budget. Baldridge has 11 years’ experience in the wind industry and a total of 31 years have been dedicated to reinforcing steel and concrete in all types of projects.
Evanson and Baldridge together spent many years working for a company called J.D. Steel Co. The pair has created a desirable work environment for employees, which has generated loyalty and retention. When Evanson and Baldridge founded West Wind, many of the field supervisors gravitated to the new entity based on trust and confidence in Evanson and Baldridge. The company has also brought on board Louie Leon as a partner and vice president.
As West Wind moves forward, the company will look to sustain manageable and responsible growth. “We see a lot of companies that grow so quickly, they become top heavy and the next thing you know they’re out of business,” says Evanson. “The most important thing is that we stay disciplined and remain an asset to our client base.” With a talented, dedicated team, West Wind Reinforcing LLC will establish new customers and markets while nourishing the relationships it has established.
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